Natural Remedies For Promoting Skin Health

The skin is susceptible to many diseases and disorders. Skin disorders may be external manifestations of systemic illness. One example is the butterfly rash of systemic lupus erythematosus. Other skin conditions reflect topical exposure reactions, arising from localized responses. Skin disorders have a wide range of etiologies, ranging from infection (e.g., scabies, ringworm) to allergy (e.g., to drugs, foods, and cosmetics) to nutritional deficiency (e.g., vitamin A or essential fatty acid [EFA] deficiency may lead to follicular hyperkeratosis). Other causes of skin outbreaks include reactions to bites and stings and reactions to plants such as poison ivy or poison oak. This chapter examines applications of natural remedies for treating several common skin conditions.

The skin is a mirror of an individual's state of health. A skin condition often reflects a deeper state of imbalance. (See Table 31-1 on page 354.) Because the skin is an organ of elimination, if other organs of elimination (liver, kidneys, or bowels) are compromised, a skin outbreak may reflect the body's attempt to discharge wastes through an alternate route. Intestinal disturbances, such as constipation, may play a role in skin problems by increasing the amount of toxins circulating in the body. To ameliorate skin conditions, it is necessary to improve the health of these organs. For example, supporting liver health may help to improve acne conditions associated with hormonal imbalances.

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